Concerning disclosures

Iain Nisbet over at Absolvitor: Scots Law Online writes about a very concerning disclosure.  He reveals that William Beck has posted on his blog about how he obtained from the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) the names and address of jurors.

It would appear that the SCCRC have communicated to Mr Beck that they have acted properly in releasing these details to him.  The original post on Mr Beck’s blog is well worth a read and Mr Beck has also published the list of jurors that he receieved (link available from his blog) on the internet.

If this news is indeed true, which it appears it might be, it is very concerning indeed.  How is a jury supposed to function properly, and return a true and just verdict, when their names and addresses could be revealed to the very person whose guilt or innocence they must decide?  It undermines the criminal justice system if this is to happen.  A jury may well be influenced based on a fear that they may later be subjected to a revenge attack should they convict the person sitting in the dock – this could cause serious problems in cases which involve violence as this fear may be greatly increased.

The Justice Secretary must address parliament with a statement about this and ensure that if the law does allow for the publication of these details that it is swiftly changed.